Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday invited Russian hackers to find and publish Hillary Clinton's emails.
"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 [Clinton] emails that are missing," Trump said at a press conference. "I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let's see if that happens. That'll be nice."
Trump was referring to the emails Clinton says she deleted because they were personal in nature. She has been investigated for her use of a private email server while she served as secretary of state.
Trump's remarks came after Clinton's camp said this week that Russian hackers were likely responsible for breaching the computer networks of the Democratic National Committee earlier this year and leaking emails of top officials to WikiLeaks for publication. While Russian hackers are suspected to have accessed both the Clinton server and the DNC emails, they are two separate occurrences.
VIDEO: Trump: "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing..." https://t.co/NEGclzLXtP
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) July 27, 2016
The hack, which showed top staffers considering leaking negative information about Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, led to chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announcing her resignation.
"Russia has no respect for our country," Trump said at the press conference. "And that's why, if it is Russia, nobody even knows it's Russia, it was probably China. ... It shows how weak we are. It shows how disrespected we are."
Trump also slammed the DNC for what was seen as conspiring against Sanders to ensure that Clinton won the Democratic nomination.
"I'm not gonna tell Putin what to do. Why should I tell Putin what to do?" Trump said. "It's not even about Russia or China or whoever it is that's doing the hacking. It's about the things they said in those emails. They were terrible things."
He also accused Clinton of being in on the conspiracy.
"Believe me, as sure as you're sitting there, Hillary Clinton knew about it," Trump said. "She knew everything. Debbie Wasserman Schultz could not breathe without speaking and getting approval from Hillary Clinton."
Trump doubled down on his Russian hacker comments in a tweet after the press conference, but revised his language to say that if Russia already has emails, they should hand them over:
If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton's 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2016
But his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, released a statement after the press conference that discouraged Russian involvement in a US election.
"The FBI will get to the bottom of who is behind the hacking," Pence said in the statement. "If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences."
A spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan issued a statement after the press conference pushing back on Trump's comments.
"Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug," Brendan Buck said, according to the statement. "Putin should stay out of this election."
Clinton's campaign also responded.
"This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent," senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement. "That's not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue."
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